Musings Of A Mountain Man - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Musings Of A Mountain Man

Posted:
   As we bask in the gold and blue glow of WVU's record-setting 70-33 Orange Bowl demolition of Clemson, it's time to send invitations to a celebration party.
                                                       *****
   WE INVITE Jamie Lynn Fincham, Cara Folk, Krystal Humphries, Kathy Sims, Kim Webster, Tim Agee, Mike Bann, Andrew Blood, Chris Cunanan, Dock Ellis III, Kiran Jay, Mike Seydor, Ron Sparks, Allen Weiner, Chris Woodrum and every other WVU fan who braved the wilds of Hollywood to watch the Mountaineers make the Tigers take a catnap.
                                                        *****
   INVITATIONS GO OUT to diehard Mountaineer denizens who live or grew up in our hometown of Parkersburg.
 
   This includes anyone who bought us a beer at our most recent high school reunion, which makes the list of people too long to mention here.
 
   We're buying the drinks this time around, anyway.
                                                        *****
   COME ON DOWN anyone we've ever met who is from West Virginia, lives there now, passes through occasionally on Interstates 64, 70, 77, 79 or, if they dare, the West Virginia Turnpike.
 
   Bring any relative you want at least two generations forward or back.
 
   Please ask a few of them to supply napkins and pepperoni rolls.
                                                         *****
   STEP ON IN, any oldie, newbie or wannabe member of the far-and-wide diaspora that is called the Mountaineer Nation.
 
   Don't worry, we have plenty of room.
 
   There's a stack of folding chairs in the back.
 
   Special seating goes to those from Wood, Roane, Fayette and Greenbrier counties.
 
   We hope you brought plasticware, paper plates and maybe some designated drivers.
                                                              *****
   OK, PEOPLE GATHER around.
 
   This won't take long:
 
   Before we start hootin' and hollerin' and start making snide comments about the city of Pittsburgh in general and the neighborhood surrounding the Pitt campus in particular;
 
   Before we start hearty partying and singing copious versions of "Take Me Home, Country Roads;"
 
   Before we start ardent dancing and lip-synching to that cool Wiz Kahlifa song;
 
   There's something we want to say.
                                                             *****

   WASN'T IT GREAT
to stay up late Wednesday night scanning media accounts of WVU's dismantling of Clemson?

 

   It was an absolute joy listening to the sports talk shows on the drive home from the game watch, making DVDs of the game replays and post-game shows until 4 a.m.
 
   It was a real pleasure to watch the ESPN and other sports network talking heads -- most of whom predicted a comfortable Clemson win -- have to analyze a WVU blowout that went at least 45 to 50 points counter to their expectations.
                                                          *****
   WASN'T IT GREAT to wake up Thursday morning and know that WVU's Clemson clouting still was going to be a topic of discussion by regional and national media?
 
   We discovered by full-tilt channel-flipping that several radio stations in our region made note of the WVU scoring onslaught on morning sports news segments, and that on two occasions an incredulous follow-up newscaster took note.
 
   They scored 70 points?
 
   Wow.
                                                           *****
   IT WAS EXCITING to hear this over the air, which is not a common emotion for us regarding news reporting.
 
   We have been in the media business for 32 years, which means we have at least 32 layers of cynicism.
 
   The travails that can come from covering any competitive walk of society for any branch of the media can create a hard edge for those who day in and day out provide the news, much like a tree creates it rings.
 
   The events -- whether they be tragic or titillating, happy or horrific -- seem to repeat themselves with a seasonal precision.
 
   Only the people affected by them change.
                                                          *****
   IT IS ALMOST INEVITABLE that one develops a natural defense mechanism -- a lack of emotional attachment to good news or bad that allows it to be processed as a routine part of a job.
 
   It grows year in and year out, inexorably becoming more visible to our eyes and to the eyes of others, be it family, friends, or those who consume what we produce.
 
   Such detachment helps in maintaining not only sanity, but crucial objectivity.
                                                          *****
   WHEN IT COMES TO WVU SPORTS, however, our objectivity is non-existent and our insanity in unquestioned.
 
   So why is it that someone of our relative age and arm's-length professional mindset still can conjure up subjective boyish excitement and disappointment over the peaks and valleys of a college sports team?
 
   Let us try to explain.
                                                        *****

   NOT TO DELVE TOO DEEPLY
into the psychological components of regional patriotism, but it seems from here that the sometimes ugly and inaccurate misrepresentations of West Virginia -- a beautiful place full of beautiful people often unfairly characterized -- make many of us who grew up there react with a stubborn, indescribable sense of protectiveness about our state.

 

 
   Many of us learn to roll with the punches -- yet throw them back, too -- with our own harsh judgments of those we think judge us.
 
   It also makes many of us alert and ready to tout West "By God" Virginia's virtues when we can.
                                                        *****
   THE ARENA THAT GIVES US the most frequent chance to do that is the sports arena.
 
   When a team of athletes -- the large percentage of whom aren't even from West Virginia -- go to battle wearing a jersey that has West Virginia written across it, they become part of our fabric.
 
   Many of us, dare we say most of us, develop some kind of attachment to this this dynamic early on.
 
   It becomes a part of us we carry through life.
 
   When the Mountaineers lose, we lose with them and share in the defeat.
 
   When the Mountaineers win, we share it even more.
 
   The fact that WVU historically and certainly at present wins way more than it loses gives us a vein of pride and good feeling.
                                                         *****
   THE ATHLETES THAT COME to WVU and stay for some time more often than not seem to absorb through some kind of spiritual osmosis the fans' unwavering commitment to our  state.
 
   Mountaineer football stars Geno Smith, Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Shawne Alston all said as much Wednesday night in post-game interviews.
 
   They were fighting for the fans, the people composing the only state in all of America who thought they could and would win.
 
   They paid back that faith by playing the most flawless game we can remember and -- considering the national focus on it -- giving themselves and their loyal fans one of WVU's finest wins ever.
                                                           *****
   WHEN OUR GUYS win big like they did against Clemson, we want to let people know about it, and with fervor.
 
   We personally were so happy about WVU's triumph that on Thursday we thought about going to confession just to share our happiness with a priest, but then it dawned on us that we're not Catholic.
 
   More than a few of us like to remind those who thought we couldn't win -- perhaps who intrinsically represent in more than a few of our minds the purveyors of West Virginia stereotypes -- that they were wrong and that we took their thoughts a little personally.
 
   That's 3-and-Oh in BCS bowls, baby.
 
   Take that, Kirk Herbstreit.
 
   In your face, Mark May.
 
                                                        *****
   IT SURE IS great to be a West Virginian and a Mountaineer fan these days.
 
   To us, the two are more than interchangeable -- they are inseparable.
 
   We will bottle these memories internally and externally and keep them close.
 
   They will be reminders of one of our happy times, when all was well in the Mountaineer Nation and the future was bright.
 
   We showed them once again.
 
It's party time.
  • More SportsMore>>

  • Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Izzo-Brown Inducted into WVSA Hall of Fame

    Monday, September 18 2017 1:34 PM EDT2017-09-18 17:34:43 GMT
    WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)WVSA announces induction of WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown as meritorious member into WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

    The West Virginia Soccer Association has announced the induction of WVU women's soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown, as a meritorious member into the WVSA Hall of Fame - Class of 2018.

  • Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Inside WVU Game Day: The Mountaineer Mascot

    Sunday, September 17 2017 10:32 AM EDT2017-09-17 14:32:13 GMT
    The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.The Mountaineer Mascot celebrates a WVU touchdown at FedEx Field.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

    The atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium on game day is truly unlike any other and the Mountaineer mascot plays a big part in making the experience one of a kind.

  • No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    No. 3 Mountaineers Swarm Spiders

    Sunday, September 10 2017 5:18 PM EDT2017-09-10 21:18:38 GMT
    Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)Michaela Abam and the WVU women's soccer team earned a 3-0 victory over Richmond on Sunday. (PHOTO: Anjelica Trinone)

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.

    The No. 3-ranked WVU women’s soccer team earned its fifth win of the season on Sunday. Hear from Coach Izzo-Brown and the Mountaineers after the win.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Quotes from Coach: Crawford's Consistency, Big 12 Familiarity, Injury Update

    Quotes from Coach: Crawford's Consistency, Big 12 Familiarity, Injury Update

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 12:40 PM EDT2017-09-20 16:40:58 GMT

    In the latest Quotes from Coach, Holgorsen discusses Kansas challenges, Crawford's consistency and gives an injury update.

    In the latest Quotes from Coach, Holgorsen discusses Kansas challenges, Crawford's consistency and gives an injury update.

  • Facing WVU’s offense a “chore” for Beaty’s Jayhawks

    Facing WVU’s offense a “chore” for Beaty’s Jayhawks

    Monday, September 18 2017 4:00 PM EDT2017-09-18 20:00:31 GMT
    WVU quarterback Will Grier talks with receiver David Sills during Saturday's game against Delaware St. game.WVU quarterback Will Grier talks with receiver David Sills during Saturday's game against Delaware St. game.

    WVU opens up Big 12 Conference action this weekend at Kansas. Hear what KU head coach David Beatty had to say about the match up on Monday's Big 12 Coaches Teleconference.

    WVU opens up Big 12 Conference action this weekend at Kansas. Hear what KU head coach David Beatty had to say about the match up on Monday's Big 12 Coaches Teleconference.

  • WEEKLY PRESSER: WVU Coach Holgorsen Addresses Media

    WEEKLY PRESSER: WVU Coach Holgorsen Addresses Media

    WVU coach Dana Holgorsen speaks with reporters before start of the first practice in fall camp. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)WVU coach Dana Holgorsen speaks with reporters before start of the first practice in fall camp. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
    Watch full coverage of West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen's weekly press conference, as he looks back on the win over Delaware State and ahead to Kansas. 
    Watch full coverage of West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen's weekly press conference, as he looks back on the win over Delaware State and ahead to Kansas. 
  • VIDEO INTERVIEWS: WVU Football Assistants and Players Look Ahead to Kansas

    Tuesday, September 19 2017 1:56 PM EDT2017-09-19 17:56:49 GMT
    Buffalo Creek native Elijah Wellman carries the West Virginia state flag onto the field for the season opener against Missouri. (PHOTO: Emily Coyle)Buffalo Creek native Elijah Wellman carries the West Virginia state flag onto the field for the season opener against Missouri. (PHOTO: Emily Coyle)
    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Assistants and Players as they look ahead to their match-up with Kansas. 
    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Assistants and Players as they look ahead to their match-up with Kansas. 
  • WVi Has Moved!

    WVi Has Moved!

    Friday, September 2 2011 1:45 PM EDT2011-09-02 17:45:05 GMT
    Don't worry, wvillustrated.com is still alive and well. WVi has upgraded to a brand new and improved website. Please check out http://www.wvillustrated.com/ We hope you enjoy the new WVi experience.
  • WVU Wins Another One in Italy

    WVU Wins Another One in Italy

    Tuesday, August 30 2011 10:11 AM EDT2011-08-30 14:11:42 GMT
    The WVU men's basketball team continued its overseas trip in Italy with another victory.
  • 2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

  • Watch Dana Holgorsen's News Conference LIVE

    Watch Dana Holgorsen's News Conference LIVE

    Every Tuesday at 1 pm, Dana Holgorsen meets with the media to discuss the upcoming opponent and any other issues surrounding his team.